by Michael J. Bowler


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Fifteen-year-old Alex is a "spinner." His friends are "dummies." Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren't being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.

In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to "fix" the kids she injures, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They want to know who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she's flirting with them. Then there's the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something evil, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy the world.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront a malevolence as old as humanity. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed. The kid who's always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.

If he survives...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781974520473
Publisher: Michael J. Bowler
Publication date: 09/27/2017
Pages: 410
Sales rank: 798,465
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.84(d)

About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a master's in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and a master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities. When Michael is not writing, you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.

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Spinner 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Dgunner254 More than 1 year ago
From the outside, Alex is just a normal boy on a wheelchair. He struggles with his learning abilities and bullies at school just like any other special education student. ‘Roller boy’ however, has a special gift that only a few trusted and some not so trusted people know about. He has the ability to ‘spin’ people. He can wipe off pain and bruises in an instant. He can inflict pain in the same fashion. This gift puts a target on his back. The same gift has gotten him kicked out of many foster homes. His cruel foster mom often takes advantage of his gift after abusing some of the kids at the home. His beloved teacher died in his dream. He had a dream about his parents dying and now he is an orphan. This is the extent of his problems until he finds a medallion that seems to open a portal to an ancient prophecy than names Alex as one with the ability to destroy humanity. From this point on, more people lose their lives and things get more complex. It is now up to his ‘dummy’ friends to unravel the mystery that is his life. They escape from kidnappers and fight bloodthirsty cats. They dig up graves and break into homes. They come face to face with an old evil. What is the story behind Miss Ashley’s replacement? Are they strong enough in the face of all the forces after Alex? Will they manage to save their freaky friend? Spinner by Michael Bowler is a well-told story of true heroism. All the characters have both physical and cognitive struggles. They do not let these struggles get in the way of their quest to support their friend. This story is a true testament to the importance of love, family and friends. Alex, though physically weak and unable to control his urge to heal people of their wounds, is a good person. His character is loveable and overshadows his physical incapability. The love and unity among the special needs kids is just so remarkable and enviable. They always have each other’s backs. Michael Bowler paints a vivid picture, which stimulates the imagination and helps the reader create an accurate mental image of the occurrences in the action packed scenes. The horror is brought to life by the author’s uncanny ability to capture attention and transport the reader into the scene. One flaw in the book lies in Alex’s spinning. In real life, if people know of such a gift they tend come up with theories. In Alex’s case, the people around him do not really care that he has such abilities. Churches do not invite him to cast out the demon or brand him a messiah. The media does nothing. This fact may leave the reader a little baffled by how well this community keeps Alex’s spinning within the community boundaries. Every person is special. It is easy to look at people with disabilities as inferiors. It is important to remember that they have substance too. This is a great book for young adults and adults alike. The lessons in the narrative are not age specific. It is a definite must read. This book works well to emphasize on the substantial personalities of people living with disabilities because therein, lies ability.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An emotional, unique thriller with a captivating premise and a fantastic all-around storytelling experience. This had me in mind of Stephen King/Joe Hill, but on a YA level, with all the page-turning excitement and hesitation they bring to the page. I had no idea what to expect as I read, and was absolutely enthralled by the characters, the story, and the writing. Very highly recommended, and for young readers coming from a background of abuse and/or foster care, this might be an empowering read as well.
Literary_Titan More than 1 year ago
Spinner is a refreshing addition to the science fiction and horror genres. The book gives readers a new perspective as the main characters are not your usual shiny protagonists, but rather a group of boys, all of whom have some form of disability or handicap. The main character, Alex, is both impaired mentally as well as physically, bound to a wheelchair. This is not the only thing that sets Alex apart, though. Alex is a spinner, capable of taking on others emotions, physical ailments, and pains before they disappear entirely. A trait that finds him unknowingly being watched by those with ulterior motives and a far more sinister entity as well. Spinner definitely brings something new and refreshing to the table with its focal characters being those typically dismissed and often belittled in our society. Bring in the science -fiction/horror vibe and Michael J. Bowler definitely writes to catch your interest. The story is original and cut from a different cloth which is refreshing. Although sometimes sentences can run on or become focused on small details, almost Charles Dickens-esque. It leaves little to the imagination as each character and scene is described in detail. The author does a wonderful job of presenting the main characters with disabilities as people, not just a subset of society to be catered to. Each character, though their disabilities are mentioned and made apparent through their interactions, are easily seen as teenagers with their own opinions, personalities, and mindsets. The fact that they're disabled rarely comes to mind throughout unless the story itself points to it, giving a refreshing and normalized perspective. Bowler uses a lot of different aspects and mannerisms stereotypical of a screen-teen. There are many dramatizations and immature reactions that detract from the characters otherwise superb development and depth. I found this contemporary story easy to relate to and understand. Spinner has a lot of interesting and refreshing concepts that I felt kept the story thrilling and suspenseful.
Kwong Ling More than 1 year ago
“The Spinner” is a novel by Michael Bowler about a teenager with abilities making up for more than his disability. Alex O’Sullivan is a sophomore at Mark Twain High School with a problem: his paralysis from the waist down makes him a second-class kid. Little did he know that a Southern California local is being watched for the one small thing he does for his friends. As he uncovers the watcher’s identity, the author explores the fellowship between Alex and his friends as they overcome all disabilities and physical limitations. With a first-person account in child education, the author does well to expose the plight of special needs students. The high school (where Michael Bowler teaches in real life) is not located in an area of sufficient means, as it is a mix of rundown classrooms and unkempt offices. With a disarray of resources, a teenager such as Alex would not receive the best attention, even though his only “need” is being confined to a wheelchair. Likewise Roy, his able-bodied friend, is denied a good education because his intimate relationship with Alex “complicates” the growth of social skills needed in high school. Regardless of the determination, both matriculate in the same multiple-subject class (a subject the author also teaches), separated from the rest of the student body as a result. This lack of assimilation, along with a growing awareness of their impairment, reinforces the ostracism of them as like-minded people, to the extent where Alex suspects his “gift” is a curse that is best to be given away. Unbeknownst to Alex and Roy, their shared weakness is forged by the author into the greatest strength. The ability for Alex to “rationalize” the plight of others garners the uninvited attention of his stepmother, often resulting in trouble for him and his friends at school. As the most “normal” of the fellowship, Roy’s strength comes from his connection with Alex that surpasses even his bodybuilding companions. Both of them lead a troupe of fellow classmates that channel their notable disabilities into advantages over their pursuers. In particular, all the members are called to give their particular strength in a ritual to save Alex from creatures that are beyond reality and religion. It is evident that, according to the author, there are hidden values to all disabilities. His choice of deposition allows the reader to empathize from both the individual and communal level. While the author ultimately delivers a positive message about the society’s challenged, his deliberate culmination of levels raises unintended consequences. Alex’s family, introduced as a critical element in the turn of the story, is not addressed as their significance is still unknown, and their effect on Alex is left ambiguous. The neighborhood parishioner, of whose insight Alex sought to understand his gift and reason of existence, is relegated as a spiritual sign holder to keep Alex on track. However these ploys fall short, they nevertheless carry the author’s plot forward and shows the potential about the less fortunate among us.
Ebienic More than 1 year ago
Alex has a secret hiding behind his reputation as the wheelchair kid in special ed. He has always been able to “spin” people. His current foster mom is exploiting that, and he is determined not to let her get in the way of his friendships with the other special ed kids in his class. But when their beloved teacher gets murdered, just the way Alex saw it in his dream, he realizes that the people after him may exploit him far more than his foster mother ever dreamed. Spinner is a paranormal story told from a special ed kid’s perspective, which does make it somewhat unique. I live the SpEd mom life, and I love seeing disabled children portrayed as heroes rather than useless. I also work in adoption, and enjoyed seeing that play a part in the story as well. Overall the story was a refreshing take on a relatively formulaic story - gates of hell have been unleashed and an unlikely band of misfit heroes must save the day - and the depth humanity imbued in the characters definitely tugs at the heartstrings. There is violence and language in this book, as well as graphic paranormal activity. Still a good read for those who enjoy rooting for the underdog.
Romuald Dzemo More than 1 year ago
The fifteen-year-old Alex is a spinner, a disabled who has been kicked out of many foster homes, but curiously, he has exceptional gifts that many shady groups are fighting to have access to. Aside from the resolve to uncover the mystery about his birth, Alex and his friends have to bring an end to a series of murders especially that of their most cherished teacher. Things only get complicated when Alex discovers an ancient prophecy which speaks of him as one with the power to destroy humanity. Spinner by Michael J. Bowler is a gripping story that will keep readers eyes glued to the pages. The book is littered with those A-ha moments that will arouse powerful emotions in readers. The writing is fluid and the narrative voice is so clear and absorbing. I loved Bowlers remarkable cast of characters, solid, convincing, and compelling enough to attract the sympathy of readers. The short chapters and shifts in POV makes the read even more interesting, with numerous moments of suspense that make readers want to know what happens next. I loved the humor. I loved the colorful and vivid descriptions that make readers feel like they were part of the intense drama, and I love the breathtaking action, the frenzy, and the race against time. Bowler has a great gift for writing, but the characters he creates and the powerful message of his story will win the hearts of fans of suspense.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Alex is a foster kid that had been through ten foster homes. He is currently stuck in one with an abusive foster mother. The worst part is that he is a spinner, which means he has the ability to heal and his foster mother knows it. She forces Alex to heal the beatings that she hands out to the other kids. School is not any better. Because he is in a wheelchair he is considered special needs and is put in the special needs class. That in itself leads to bullying and abuse from fellow students. But things get weird when his teacher is murdered and there is something wrong with the substitute teacher. Things start getting exciting when an ancient evil is awakened and it is up to Alex and his friends to stop it. They are going to have lots of adventures and thrills before this is over. Alex is also going to learn more about his past and why everyone is after him. This is a great story. Alex and his friends are not your typical heroes but they are the right people to prevent evil from taking over. I felt so bad for Alex, he is in such a crappy situation. I loved all the dummies. They knew what they had to do and no matter the challenges they kept fighting. Spinner is a great young adult story that everyone will like. It’s a great story for those that face bullying and can encourage those that are not popular to embrace this. Spinner is a book for any age. I received this book for free from Sage’s Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite Spinner is another great book by the author Michael J Bowler, who also penned the Children of the Knight series. Spinner tells the story of a teenage boy, Alex, who suffers from Spina Bifida and has to use a wheelchair, and his gang of special-ed(ucation) friends. Alex is special because he can "spin" people, which means that he can take people's pain, emotional as well as physical, away by listening to them describing their problem/pain. He can make wounds disappear and sadness turn into comfort. Of course, this special power would be very useful for people with more sinister goals than just helping people. Alex and his friends will have to go through quite a few adventures - who are his parents really, and what does a talking cat have to do with all of that? And who are the two parties who want Alex's power for themselves? Michael J Bowler created a fantastic YA novel with Spinner, and I enjoyed every single page of it. His writing style is unmistakable, so if you have read other books by that author, you will feel right at home. If not, the book will make you want to read his other books, too. Michael manages to include many topics within the story, from bullying, to dealing with being in a special education class, to what it is like to be in love with someone who does not love you the same way, and much more. It is all packed into a very exciting plot about a special boy with special powers. While it is a bit of a horror book in parts, it is not over the top horror with too much gore. It is exciting, but not in a horrible, frightening way - definitely a page turner though!
megHan-sHena More than 1 year ago
Spinner I am a huge fan of horror, and have really gotten into young adult books lately, especially ones that have a lot of adventure, interesting characters, and a story that excites me. This book has all that ... and then some. Before I discuss the story itself, I want to talk about the characters. These are definitely characters you don't hear about often. Alex is fifteen, in a wheelchair, lives in a foster home, and is in Special Ed in high school ... and has special powers. His friends are all in the same class with him - they are the "rejects" and yet they are the ones that are going to save the world. I absolutely love the character of Alex, and all of his classmates, especially Roy. Each one of them have their own personalities, and bring their own things to the story and to the adventure. He describes them perfectly, too - in such detail that you can picture them in your head, but not done in a way that takes away from the story. It's so great to see children with special needs and learning disorders used as the heroes of a book, and the author did a great job doing it. Seeing them try and fail, and keep trying, in spite of the way they were treated in school, was an amazing thing to see, and Bowler wrote so well that I really felt like I was there with them throughout the story, like I knew these boys. The story is really good. The things they have to go through, the powers and people they are up against the whole way, the mysteries they work to solve, all with a much bigger picture than they can realize. It's an epic adventure that I'm sure lots of children (and Young Adult lovers) will enjoy. The horror aspect of it is done really well - just the right amount of creepy for a young adult novel, as far as I'm concerned. Definitely check out the introduction to the book before you get started on the story. The author tells you a little bit about himself and why he chose the characters that he did for this novel. Definitely a book that I highly recommend. This would be a great book to share with older children who are into adventures and scary things.
Underdweller68 More than 1 year ago
Spinner by Michael J. Bowler is an exceptional roller coaster of a book. It’s been a while since I’ve read any YA, but this book was fantastic. Our hero is a boy named Alex. He has spina bifida, is in Special Ed and has to live in a foster home run by an evil hag. He is extraordinary. Bowler has given him the angst and fears of any teenager, but a charming depth and poise we all hope our children will have. He is surrounded by his friends, an eclectic group of boys also in the Special Education program at his school. Each one is different and exceptional. I really enjoyed the paranormal and religious mythology of this book. It took and original concept and wove it intricately through a variety of well-known religions. I loved that the boys had limitations, not just Alex’s spina bifida, but their mental restrictions, and still managed to find a way to understand. Not just one another, but whatever was thrust at them. This is a YA book, but it is gritty and real and not for the faint of heart. There is danger, adventure and evil… real evil. The characters are fantastic, and the relationships intense. I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in about 12 hours, and had to force myself to go to sleep. If you are looking for a adventure, mystery full of depth and originality, this is the book for you. 5 stars! Can’t wait to find out how the journey continues! ***I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review***